The case for using reclaimed water is strong. Water has become an increasingly valuable (and often rare) resource, and every drop counts. As potable water sources become harder to find and access, people are moving to alternative sources such as non-potable fresh water, brackish sources, or reclaiming treated effluent rather than disposing of it.
Moreover, as populations grow, and domestic and industrial wastewater volumes increase, usage of reclaimed water offers both ecological and economic advantages.
In the United States, reclaimed water is most commonly used for non-potable purposes such as agriculture, landscape, public parks, and golf course irrigation. In dry regions, such as Israel, reclaimed water makes up about 50 percent of agricultural water supply, while in Singapore reclaimed water is treated to meet even higher standards and used to supplement the drinking water supply.
From wastewater to viable water
Sewers collect the wastewater from homes, businesses, and industries, and deliver it to wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) for treatment. These plants clean the wastewater for release into streams or other water sources, or for reuse in applications such as agricultural irrigation.
The use of reclaimed water in agricultural irrigation comes with its own unique set of challenges. There are simple solutions to all of these challenges including the implementation of advanced filtration.
The need for filtration
Reclaimed water from WWTPs contains a relatively elevated level of total suspended solids (TSS), which can consist of organic and/or inorganic materials. These solids must be significantly reduced by separation and advanced filtration methods or these solids will clog the irrigation emitters, and significantly reduce the performance and lifespan of the irrigation system.
Cleaning or replacing emitters can be very costly, so the return on investment for implementing high-quality, advanced filtration systems is quick, and should be a standard part of any irrigation system design in which reclaimed water is used.
Common filter types include screen, disc, and sand media. Fully automatic, self-cleaning filters with a self-flushing mechanism use a minimal amount of water to keep the filter system clean. This will help conserve water, save time, and reduce costs and labor.